By Stephanie Willsey. First of all, I should introduce myself: I am a First Nations Canadian, of the Chippewa, or Ojibwe, community of Rama, Ont. I was raised off the reserve, but only a short drive away, and I am there often.
Being native is often characterized by deprivation and suffering — be it with respect to land, language or identity — and unfortunately, this is often the truth. My grandmother was forced to reject her native language, culture and customs as a child, through a tragically misguided view that she, like all other Aboriginal people, would be better served by assimilating into the “white” world. More...